This is the fourth blog in my series on Collective Marks. As I have stated in all three of the previous posts, the importance of how you understand and focus on the collective marks cannot be emphasised enough. If you pay lip service to this you will not have a full appreciation of the aims of your test.
The collective marks allow the judge to give an overall score for their perception of how you and your horse performed throughout the test. It is their opinion as to how you, as a combination, conducted yourselves and the overall impression you left them with as the test progressed.
The first post in this series – Collective marks – Scoring, explained the way the collectives are scored by the judges. Moving on, I turn to paces, regularity and freedom, the first of the collectives to be given marks. Your score will be either an individual score for each of the 3 paces (walk, trot and canter) or an overall score for all of them, depending on your training level.
The canter is a three beat pace, where in the canter to the right, for example, the footfall is as follows: left hind, left diagonal (simultaneously left for and right hind, right fore, followed by a moment of suspension with all four feet I the air before the next stride begins. The canter, always with light, cadenced and regular strides, should be moved into without hesitation.
The quality of the canter is judged by the overall impression that you give the judge. So the judge might comment something like ‘pleasing canter’ which means that the overall impression that you give is good.
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